May 30th, 2006
In my experience, projects must; actively involve all the group members, have excellent communication and access to project information, have a shared desired outcome, have specific dates for completion of tasks, and have all the required tools (when needed) in order to finish.
If there is no enthusiasm in the group, your project is dead or doomed to be incredibly dull and tedious.
It’s all about very simple questions; what, where, who, how, when, how much, and fixing specific dates and commitments from the group members. The key to success is the leadership and maintaining the level of enthusiasm of the group members, mixed with the correct resources and tools available on time, and a shared sense of urgency in order to bring the project to completion.
Here is a simple outline that may help in organizing the project and the participants.
16 Steps to a Finished Project
1. Determine the objective and specific desired outcome. Write it down.
2. Identify and organize the people who might be interested or are required in order to bring the project to completion. Ask them to participate, and comment on their level of enthusiasm or belief that the project can or will be successful.
3. Identify a project leader and coordinator, this should be accepted by all involved in the project. No consensus, keep trying.
4. Begin “brainstorming” and create scenarios on how to achieve the desired outcome (this may have be broken down into sub-tasks). Make a date when all this creative thinking will be finished and a written draft can be printed and shared.
5. Identify factors that influence or limit the project that are beyond your control (global economic forces, natural disasters, competition, etc.) and factors that are in your control (capital invested, personnel, prices, etc.). Identify the risks or warning flags that might surface. Write this down.
6. Determine and identify the tools (capital, equipment, machinery), the people (administration, sales, suppliers, customers), and the time required to complete the objectives. Write this down.
7. Organize the people involved in the project. Review the proposed project, the factors of influence, the tools, people and time. Determine the best path, tools, time frame, and write it down.
8. Organize the tasks and sub-tasks in chronological order. Write it down.
9. Ask each participant if they are committed to participating in the project, completing their tasks on time and reaching the final outcome. If there is no commitment, find out why and resolve.
10. Develop a list of initial actions and outcomes that must be started and completed. Identify the responsible parties and dates. Write it down.
11. Request specific (realistic) dates for the completion of tasks, sub-tasks and objectives. Write it down.
12. The leader must follow-up on all dates and compromises. Make this information public to all others involved in the project. Communicate all deliveries of sub-tasks, or lack of delivery with the group.
13. Make certain that the group knows the status of the project at all times, everyone should either be waiting for information or the outcome of an ongoing activity, or actively working on obtaining information or finalizing an activity.
14. If a group member is unable or unwilling to finish tasks on time, discover why and take immediate action to support or replace the member.
15. For any major problems or setbacks, get the group together to work out new scenarios and dates of completion.
16. Celebrate the big milestones and victories.
Original post: Bits and Pieces of Accumulated Experience, May 30, 2006